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UN rights office concerned over Sri Lanka’s deepening economic crisis

Geneva [Switzerland], April 6 (ANI): The UN human rights office (OHCHR) on Tuesday expressed concern over the deepening economic crisis in Sri Lanka and urged the government to defuse tensions peacefully.

The situation in the island nation has worsened and there have been shortages of food and fuel, along with power cuts, prompting new protests by desperate Sri Lankans, OHCHR Spokesperson Liz Throssell said in a statement.

OHCHR Spokesperson said her office was “concerned that such measures are aimed at preventing or discouraging people from legitimately expressing their grievances through peaceful protests, and that they frustrate the exchange of views on matters of public interest”.

“We are closely following developments in Sri Lanka where in the past few days the authorities announced a state of emergency and other restrictions in response to mass protests against the country’s worst economic crisis in decades,” she added.

Sri Lanka is experiencing its worst economic crisis since its independence. The crisis is caused by a shortage of foreign currency resulting from the restriction of tourist flow due to the coronavirus pandemic, as a result of which the country cannot buy enough fuel.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the island’s tourism sector, a key source of foreign currency, sharply, and remittances from Sri Lankans working abroad have also declined. There is an acute shortage of food and essential supplies, fuel and gas in the country.

The authorities of Sri Lanka previously imposed a curfew on the island, which was valid until Monday, and limited access to all social networks. Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Tuesday lifted a state of emergency in the country imposed on April 1.

The UN Human Rights Office said it will continue to closely watch developments.

“As the High Commissioner noted in her recent report to the Human Rights Council in February, the drift towards militarisation and the weakening of institutional checks and balances in Sri Lanka have affected the State’s ability to effectively tackle the economic crisis and ensure the realization of the economic, social and cultural rights of all people in Sri Lanka,” Throssell said.

“We urge the Government, political parties and civil society to engage in immediate, inclusive and meaningful dialogue to find a solution for the pressing economic and political challenges that Sri Lanka faces and to avoid further polarization of the situation,” she added. (ANI)

This report is auto-generated from ANI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.


Source: The Print

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